Don’t these women look like they are enjoying their tea break from work in a munitions factory (1944)? This is what community can look like.
But, finding community is no easy task. It requires both prayer and practice.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
In Hebrews 10, God shows us how to hold fast to our hope and stir up love and good works. God’s word says this happens through assembling together. We need to be in fellowship with those who love God. So, how do we find others with whom to assemble?
- Pray. The Lord has a friend out there for you. A real life, local, kindred friend. It may take time to find her and she might not seem like the perfect friend at first. Continue to pray and let God show you what He has in store for each new friendship as it comes. Some will stick; some won’t. But, I promise that God did not design you to walk this life of faith, mothering, marriage, and work alone. We are designed to live in community.
- Practice asking. Five years ago, I moved from the city where I was born, raised, educated, married and gave birth to my two children, to a new state where I knew no one. Not a single person. I left a thriving Mom Heart group made up of college and church friends I’d known for years. That group was easy to start because I had many friends who were also new mothers. Fast forward to my new life. There was no one with whom to begin friendship or to read a book. So, I got brave. (Actually, I was always shaking in my boots, but I knew that I had to initiate or I’d be lonely for years.) When I went to the park, I was outgoing, asking mothers if they’d be interested in reading a book on motherhood together. I gave out my email address. When buying curriculum, I would ask the seller if she wanted to join a book club. I even searched on Facebook for various parenting groups in my area and posted there about starting a group, asking if anyone would like to join me. It was terrifying and there was a lot of rejection. But I was convinced that I needed friends. After several weeks, one person said, “Yes!” and that’s all I needed to start a “group.” The two of us could read a book together and become friends. And we did- what a blessing that Sara said yes that day! So practice, practice, practice while you pray and God will bring people into your life.
Sara and Me – my first friend who said, “Yes!”
Here are some ideas of places to find mothers to invite to your group: your children’s classes (gymnastics, sports, school), the grocery store line (yep- met people here too!), friends of friends (ask your friends to step out and invite women to join your group), social media, coffee shops, airplanes (yep- here too!). Invite them to come once and see if the group is a good fit for them, then they don’t feel locked into a commitment right at first.
Here’s one final idea that often works. I buy extra copies of Sally’s books whenever I can. Then, when I meet a new friend and potential group member, I give her a copy as a gift and explain how much that book helped me in my mothering. It’s fun to watch different reactions to being given a gift and for some, that’s the act of kindness that draws them to you and helps them step out and attend.
Remember, every woman you invite is just as frightened to walk in the door as you were to invite her in the first place. (Maybe even more so.) Treat people with respect and gentle kindness and they will be drawn to the Lord through you.
For current leaders, how did you find women to attend your group?